Women dial 999 for husbands’ heart attacks but not their own

By June Shannon Heart News   |   8th Mar 2019

On international Women’s Day – it’s time for women take care of themselves too

Women call an ambulance for husbands, fathers and brothers with heart attack symptoms but not for themselves – this was the main message of two new research studies presented recently at an international cardiology conference.

For the study researchers from the Polish Registry of Acute Coronary Syndromes (PL-ACS) analysed 7,582 patients who has suffered a serious heart attack in which a major artery supplying blood to the heart was blocked.

In these cases, faster restoration of blood flow translates into more salvaged heart muscle and less dead tissue, less subsequent heart failure, and a lower risk of death. Guidelines therefore recommend opening the artery with a stent within 90 minutes of diagnosis in the ambulance by electrocardiogram (ECG).

" One of the reasons women are less likely than men to be treated within the recommended time period is because they take longer to call an ambulance when they have symptoms – this is especially true for younger women,"

Professor Mariusz, Principal Investigator , Polish Registry of Acute Coronary Syndromes (PL-ACS)

According to the results of the study, 45 per cent of patients were treated within the recommended time frame – these patients were less often women. Therefore, men were more likely than women to be treated within the recommended time frame.

Patients within and outside the advised treatment window had similar rates of in-hospital mortality, but those treated promptly had a lower chance of developing heart failure.

ECG results were transmitted from the ambulance to a heart attack centre in about 40 per cent of patients. In women, the likelihood of ECG transfer rose with increasing age – from 34 per cent in women aged 54 years and under to 45 per cent in those aged 75 and above. However, in men, the rate of transfer was approximately 40 per cent regardless of age.

Professor Mariusz Gąsior, principal investigator of the registry, said, “One of the reasons women are less likely than men to be treated within the recommended time period is because they take longer to call an ambulance when they have symptoms – this is especially true for younger women. In addition, ECG results for younger women are less often sent to the heart attack centre, which is recommended to speed up treatment.”

Registry coordinator Dr Marek Gierlotka said, “More efforts are needed to improve the logistics of pre-hospital heart attack care in young women. Greater awareness should be promoted among medical staff and the general public that women, even young women, also have heart attacks. Women are more likely to have atypical signs and symptoms, which may contribute to a delay in calling for medical assistance.”

" This study is further confirmation that women tend to play down their symptoms and are less likely to call an ambulance for themselves, "

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director , The Irish Heart Foundation said

Commenting Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation said, “This study is further confirmation that women tend to play down their symptoms and are less likely to call an ambulance for themselves, putting the pain down to “indigestion”.

Furthermore, women often have atypical symptoms and may present with breathlessness, sweating, back pain, jaw pain or nausea. The take home message if you think you are having a heart attack call 999 – early treatment saves lives and heart function.”

These two studies from the Polish Registry of Acute Coronary Syndromes (PL-ACS) were presented at Acute Cardiovascular Care 2019 – a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) congress which took place from 02 to 04 March at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Malaga (FYCMA) in Malaga, Spain.

Heart attack it's different for women

Inform yourself today about the symptoms of heart attack in women. #HerHeartMatters

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heart attack heart attack symptoms heart disease International Women's Day stroke women and heart health women's health

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